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there is madness, as the phrase is, “in the family;” and so whenever they feel ill, or meet with a misfortune, the thought will prey upon their minds; and this may lead to catastrophes, with which they have really no more to do than any other sick or unfortunate people. How many persons have committed an extravagance in a brain fever, or undergone hallucinations of mind in consequence of getting an ague, or taking opium, or fifty other causes : and yet the moment the least wandering of mind is observed in them, others become frightened; their fright is manifested beyond all necessity; and the patients and their family must suffer for it. They seem to think, that no disorder can properly be held a true Christian sickness, and fit for charitable interpretation, but where the patient has gone regularly to bed, and had curtains, and caudlecups, and nurses about him, like a well-behaved respectable sick gentleman. But this state of things implies muscular weakness, or weakness of that sort which renders the bodily action feeble. Now, in nervous disorders, the muscular action may be as strong as ever; and people may reasonably be allowed a world of illness, sitting in their chairs, or even walking or running. These mistaken pronouncers upon disease ought to be told, that when they are thus unwarrantably frightened, they are partaking of the very essence of what they misapprehend ; for it is fear, in all its various degrees and modifications, which is at the bottom of nervousness and melancholy; not fear in its ordinary sense, as opposed to cowardice (for a man who would shudder at a bat or a vague idea, may be bold as a lion against an enemy), but imaginative fear;-fear either of something known or of the patient knows not what ;-a vague sense of terror, an impulse, an apprehension of ill,—dwelling upon some painful and worrying thought. Now this suffering is invariably connected with a weak state of the body in some respects, particularly of the stomach. Hundreds will be found to have felt it, if patients inquire; but the mind is sometimes afraid of acknowledging its apprehensions, even to itself; and thus fear broods over and hatches fear. These disorders, generally speaking, are greater or less in their effects according to the exercise of reason. But do not let the word be misunderstood : we should rather say, according to the extent of the knowledge. A very imaginative man will indeed be likely to suffer more than others; but if his knowledge is at all in proportion, he will also get through his evil better than an uninformed man suffering great terrors. And the reason is, that he knows how much bodily unhealthiness has to do with it. The very words that frighten the unknowing might teach them better, if understood. Thus insanity itself properly means
nothing but unhealthiness or unsoundness. Derangement explains itself, and may surely mean very harmless things. Melancholy is compounded of two words which signify black bile. Hypochondria is the name of one of the regions of the stomach, a very instructive etymology. And lunacy refers to effects, real or imaginary, of particular states of the moon; which if anything after all, are nothing more than what every delicate constitution feels in its degree from particular states of the weather; for weather, like the tides, is apt to be in such and such a condition, when the moon presents such and such a face.
It has been said,
Great wits to madness nearly are allied.
It is curious that he who wrote the saying (Dryden) was a very sound wit to the end of his life; while his wife, who was of a weak understanding, became insane. An excellent writer (Wordsworth) has written an idle couplet about the insanity of poets:
We poets enter on our path with gladness,
If he did not mean madness in the ordinary sense, he should not have written this line; if he did, he ought not to have fallen, in the teeth of his better knowledge, into so vulgar an error. There are very few instances of insane poets, or of insane great understandings of any sort. Bacon, Milton, Newton, Shakspeare, Cervantes, &c. were all of minds as sound as they were great. So it has been with the infinite majority of literary men of all countries. If Tasso and a few others were exceptions, they were but exceptions; and the derangement in these eminent men has very doubtful characters about it, and is sometimes made a question. It may be pretty safely affirmed, at least, upon an examination of it, that had they not been the clever men they were, it would have been much worse and less equivocal. Collins, whose case was after all one of inanition rather than insanity, had been a free liver; and seems to have been hurt by having
a fortune left him. Cowper was weak-bodied,
and beset by Methodists. Swift's body was full of bad humours. He himself attributed his disordered system to the effects of a surfeit of fruit on his stomach ; and in his last illness he used to break out in enormous boils and blisters. This was a violent effort of nature to help and purify the current of his blood, the main object in all such cases. Dr. Johnson, who was subject to mists of melancholy, used to fancy he should go mad ; but he never did. Exercise, conversation, cheerful society, amusements of all sorts, or a kind, patient, and gradual helping of the bodily health, till the mind be capable of amusement (for it should never foolishly be told “not to think"
of melancholy things, without having something done for it to mend the bodily health), these are the cures, the only cures, and in our opinion the almost infallible cures of nervous disorders, however excessive. Above all, the patient should be told, that there has often been an end to that torment of one haunting idea, which is indeed a great and venerable suffering. Many persons have got over it in a week, a few weeks, or a month, some in a few months, some not for years, but they have got over it at last. There is a remarkable instance of this in the life of our great king Alfred. He was seized, says his contemporary biogra
*pher, with such a strange illness while sitting at table, in the twenty-fifth year (we think) of his age, that he shrieked aloud; and for twenty years afterwards this illness so preyed upon him, that the relief of one hour was embittered by what he dreaded would come the next. His disorder is conjectured by some to have been an internal cancer; by others, with more probability, the black bile, or melancholy. The physicians of those times knew nothing about it ; and the people showed at once their ignorance, and their admiration of the king, by saying that the devil had caused it out of jealousy. It was probably produced by anxiety for the state of his country; but the same thing which wounded him may have helped to keep him up ; for he had plenty of business to attend to, and fought with his own hand in fifty-six pitched battles. Now exactly twenty years after, in the forty-fifth year of his age (if our former recollection is right) this disorder totally left him ; and his great heart was where it ought to be, in a heaven of health and calmness.
Fogs and mists, being nothing but vapours which the cold air will not suffer to evaporate, must sometimes present a gorgeous aspect next the sun. To the eye of an eagle, or whatever other eyes there may be to look down upon them, they may appear like masses of cloudy gold. In fact, they are but clouds unrisen. The city of London, at the time we are writing this article, is literally a city in the clouds. Its inhabitants walk through the same airy heaps which at other times float over their heads in the sky, or minister with glorious faces to the setting sun.
We do not say, that any one can “hold a fire in his hand,” by thinking on a fine sunset; or that sheer imagination of any sort can make it a very agreeable thing to feel as if one's body were wrapped round with cold wet paper: much less to flounder through gutters, or run against posts. But the mind can often help itself with agreeable images against disagreeable ones; or pitch itself round to the
best sides and aspects of them. The solid and fiery ball of the sun, stuck as it were, in the thick foggy atmosphere ; the moon just winning her way through it, into beams; nay, the very candles and gas-lights in the shop windows of a misty evening, all have, in our eyes, their agreeable varieties of contrast to the surrounding haze. We have even halted, of a dreary autumnal evening, at that open part of the Strand by St. Clement's, and seen the church, which is a poor structure of itself, take an aspect of ghastly grandeur from the dark atmosphere ; looking like a tall white mass, mounting up interminably into the night overhead.
The poets, who are the common friends that keep up the intercourse between nature and humanity, have in numberless passages done justice to these our melancholy visitors, and shown us what grand personages they are. To mention only a few of the most striking. When Thetis, in the Iliad (lib. i., v. 359) rises out of the sea to console Achilles, she issues forth in a mist ; like the Genius in the Arabian Nights. The reader is to suppose that the mist, after ascending, comes gliding over the water; and condensing itself into a human shape, lands the white-footed goddess on the shore.
When Achilles, after his long and vindictive absence from the Greek armies, re-appears in consequence of the death of his friend Patroclus, and stands before the appalled Trojan armies, who are thrown into confusion at the very sight, Minerva, to render his aspect the more astonishing and awful, puts about his head a halo of golden mist, streaming upwards with fire. (Lib. xviii., v. 205.) He shouts aloud under this preternatural diadem ; Minerva throws into his shout her own immortal voice with a strange unnatural cry; at which the horses of the Trojan warriors run round with their chariots, and twelve of their noblest captains perish in the crush.
A mist was the usual clothing of the gods, when they descended to earth ; especially of Apollo, whose brightness had double need of mitigation. Homer, to heighten the dignity of Ulysses, has finely given him the same covering, when he passes through the court of Antinous, and suddenly appears before the throne. This has been turned to happy account by Virgil, and to a new and noble one by Milton. Virgil makes AFneas issue suddenly from a mist, at the moment when his friends think him lost, and the beautiful queen of Carthage is wishing his presence. Milton, but we will give one or two of his minor uses of mists, by way of making a climax of the one alluded to. If Satan, for instance, goes lurking about Paradise, it is “like a black mist low creeping.” If the angels on guard glide about it, upon their gentler errand, it is like fairer vapours:
On the ground Gliding meteorous, as evening mist Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel Homeward returning.—(Par. Lost, B. xii. v. 628.)
Now behold one of his greatest imaginations. The fallen demi-gods are assembled in Pandaemonium, waiting the return of their “great adventurer" from his “search of worlds:”
He through the midst unmarked, In show plebeian angel militant Of lowest order, passed; and from the door Of that Plutonian hall, invisible, Ascended his high throne; which, under state Of richest texture spread, at the upper end Was placed in regal lustre. Down awhile He sat, and round about him saw unseen. At last—as from a cloud, his fulgent head And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad With what permissive glory since his fall Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng Bent their aspéct; and whom they wished, beheld, Their mighty chief returned.
There is a piece of imagination in Apollonius Rhodius worthy of Milton or Homer. The Argonauts, in broad daylight, are suddenly benighted at sea with a black fog. They pray to Apollo; and he descends from heaven, and lighting on a rock, holds up his illustrious bow, which shoots a guiding light for them to an island. Spenser in a most romantic chapter of the Faery Queene (Book 11.), seems to have taken the idea of a benighting from Apollonius, as well as to have had an eye to some passages of the Odyssey; but like all great poets, what he borrows only brings worthy companionship to some fine invention of his own. It is a scene thickly beset with horror. Sir Guyon, in the course of his voyage through the perilous sea, wishes to stop and hear the Syrens : but the palmer, his companion, dissuades him : When suddeinly a grosse fog overspred With his dull vapour all that desert has, And heaven's chearefull face enveloped, That all things one, and one as nothing was, And this great universe seemed one confused mass.
Thereat they greatly were dismayd, ne wist How to direct theyr way in darkness wide, But feared to wander in that wastefull mist For tombling into mischiefe unespyde: Worse is the daunger hidden then descride. Suddeinly an innumerable flight Of harmfull fowles about them fluttering cride, And with theyr wicked wings them oft did smight, And sore annoyed, groping in that griesly night.
Even all the nation of unfortunate And fatall birds about them flocked were, Such as by nature men abhorre and hate; The ill-faced owle, deaths dreadful messengere: The hoarse night-raven, trump of dolefull drere: The lether-winged batt, dayes enimy: The ruefull stritch, still waiting on the bere: The whistler shrill, that whoso heares doth dy: The hellish harpies, prophets of sad destiny:
All these, and all that else does horror breed, About them flew, and fild their sayles with fear; Yet stayd they not, but forward did proceed, Whiles th' one did row, and th' other stifly steare.
Ovid has turned a mist to his usual account. It is where Jupiter, to conceal his amour with Io, throws a cloud over the vale of Tempe. There is a picture of Jupiter and Io, by Correggio, in which that great artist has finely availed himself of the circumstance; the head of the father of gods and men coming placidly out of the cloud, upon the young lips of Io, like the very benignity of creation.
The poet who is the most conversant with mists is Ossian, who was a native of the north of Scotland or Ireland. The following are as many specimens of his uses of mist, as we have room for. The first is very grand ; the second as happy in its analogy; the third is ghastly, but of more doubtful merit:
Two Chiefs parted by their King.—They sunk from the king on either side, like two columns of morning mist, when the sun rises between them on his glittering rocks. Dark is their rolling on either side, each towards its reedy pool.
A great Enemy.—I love a foe like Cathmor: his soul is great ; his arm is strong; his battles are full of fame. But the little soul is like a vapour, that hovers round the marshy lake. It never rises on the green hill, lest the winds meet it there.
A terrible Omen.—A mist rose slowly from the lake. It came, in the figure of an aged man, along the silent plain. Its large limbs did not move in steps; for a ghost supported it in mid air. It came towards Selma's hall, and dissolved in a shower of blood.
We must mention another instance of the poetical use of a mist, if it is only to indulge ourselves in one of those masterly passages of Dante, in which he contrives to unite minuteness of detail with the most grand and sovereign effect. It is in a lofty comparison of the planet Mars looking through morning vapours; the reader will see with what (Purgatorio, c. 11. v. 10). Dante and his guide Virgil have just left the infernal regions, and are lingering on a solitary sea-shore in purgatory; which reminds us of that still and far-thoughted Verse—
Lone sitting by the shores of old romance.
But to our English-like Italian.
That solitary shore we still kept on,
And by degrees, I saw I knew not what
One word, till those first issuing candours bright
He cried aloud, “Down, down, upon the ground, It is God's Angel."
XVI.—THE SHOEMAKER OF VEYROS, A port to GUESE tradition.
IN the time of the old kings of Portugal, Don John, a natural son of the reigning prince, was governor of the town of Veyros, in the province of Alentejo. The town was situate (perhaps is there still) upon a mountain, at the foot of which runs a river; and at a little distance there was a ford over it, under another eminence. The bed of the river thereabouts was so high as to form a shallow sandy place ; and in that clear spot of water, the maidens of Veyros, both of high rank and humble, used to wash their clothes. It happened one day, that Don John, riding out with a company, came to the spot at the time the young women were so employed : and being, says our author, “a young and lusty gallant,” he fell to jesting with his followers upon the bare legs of the busy girls, who had tucked up their clothes, as usual, to their work. He passed along the river; and all his company had not yet gone by, when a lass in a red petticoat, while tucking it up, showed her legs somewhat high ; and clapping her hand on her right calf, said loud enough to be heard by the riders, “Here's a white leg, girls, for the Master of Avis".” These words, spoken probably out of a little lively bravado, upon the strength of the governor's having gone by, were repeated to him when he got home, together with the action that accompanied them : upon which the young lord felt the eloquence of the speech so deeply, that he contrived to have the fair speaker brought to him in private ; and the consequence was, that our lively natural son, and his sprightly challenger, had another natural son. Ines (for that was the girl's name) was the daughter of a shoemaker in Veyros; a man of very good account, and wealthy. Hearing how his daughter had been sent for to the young governor's house, and that it was her own light behaviour that subjected her to what he was assured she willingly consented to, he took it so to heart, that at her return home, she was driven by him from the house, with every species of contumely and spurning. After this, he never saw her more. And to prove to the world and to himself, that his severity was a matter of principle, and not a mere indulgence of his own passions, he never
* An order of knighthood, of which Don John was Master.
afterwards lay in a bed, nor ate at a table, nor changed his linen, nor cut his hair, nails, or beard ; which latter grew to such a length, reaching below his knees, that the people used to call him Barbadon, or Old Beardy. In the meantime, his grandson, called Don Alphonso, not only grew to be a man, but was created Duke of Braganza, his father Don John having been elected to the crown of Portugal; which he wore after such noble fashion, to the great good of his country, as to be surnamed the Memorable. Now the town of Veyros stood in the middle of seven or eight others, all belonging to the young Duke, from whose palace at Villa Viciosa it was but four leagues distant. He therefore had good intelligence of the shoemaker his grandfather; and being of a humane and truly generous spirit, the accounts he received of the old man's way of life made him extremely desirous of paying him a visit. He accordingly went with a retinue to Veyros; and meeting Barbadon in the streets, he alighted from his horse, bareheaded, and in the presence of that stately company and the people, asked the old man his blessing. The shoemaker, astonished at this sudden spectacle, and at the strange contrast which it furnished to his humble rank, stared in a bewildered manner upon the unknown personage, who thus knelt to him in the public way; and said, “Sir, do you mock me !”— “No,” answered the Duke ; “may God so help me, as I do not : but in earnest I crave I may kiss your hand and receive your blessing, for I am your grandson, and son to Ines your daughter, conceived by the king, my lord and father.” No sooner had the shoemaker heard these words, than he clapped his hands before his eyes, and said, “God bless me from ever beholding the son of so wicked a daughter as mine was . And yet, forasmuch as you are not guilty of her offence, hold ; take my hand and my blessing, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” So saying, he laid one of his old hands upon the young man's head, blessing him ; but neither the Duke nor his followers could persuade him to take the other away from his eyes; neither would he talk with him a word more. In this spirit, shortly after, he died ; and just before his death he directed a tomb to be made for him, on which were sculptured the tools belonging to his trade, with this epitaph — “This sepulchre Barbadon caused to be made, (Being of Veyros, a shoemaker by his trade) For himself and the rest of his race, Excepting his daughter Ines in any case."
The author says, that he has “heard it reported by the ancientest persons, that the fourth Duke of Braganza, Don James, son to Donna Isabel, sister to the King Don Emanuel, caused that tomb to be defaced, being the sepulchre of his fourth grandfather ".”
• It appears by this, that the Don John of the tradition As for the daughter, the conclusion of whose story comes lagging in like a penitent, “ she continued,” says the writer, “after she was delivered of that son, a very chaste and virtuous woman; and the king made her commandress of Santos, a most honourable place, and very plentiful ; to the which none but princesses were admitted, living, as it were, abbesses and princesses of a monastery built without the walls of Lisbon, called Santos, that is Saints, founded by reason of some martyrs that were martyred there. And the religious women of that place have liberty to marry with the knights of their order, before they enter into that holy profession.”
The rest of our author's remarks are in too curious a spirit to be omitted. “In this monastery,” he says, “the same Donna Ines died, leaving behind her a glorious reputation for her virtue and holiness. Observe, gentle reader, the constancy that this Portuguese, a shoemaker, continued in, loathing to behold the honourable estate of his grandchild, nor would any more acknowledge his daughter, having been a lewd woman, for purchasing advancement with dishonour. This considered, you will not wonder at the Count Julian, that plagued Spain, and executed the king Roderigo for forcing his daughter La Cava. The example of this shoemaker is especially worthy the noting, and deeply to be considered : for, besides, that it makes good our assertion, it teaches the higher not to disdain the lower, as long as they be virtuous and lovers of honour. It may be that this old man, for his integrity, rising from a virtuous zeal, merited that a daughter coming by descent from his grandchild, should be made Queen of Castile, and the mother of great Isabel, grandmother to the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and Ferdinando.”
Alas! a pretty posterity our shoemaker had, in Philip the 2nd and his successors, a race more suitable to his severity against his child, than his blessing upon his grandchild. Old Barbadon was a fine fellow too, after his fashion. We do not know how he reconciled his unforgiving conduct with his Christianity; but he had enough precedents on that point. What we admire in him is, his showing that he acted out of principle, and did not mistake passion for it. II is crepidarian sculptures indeed are not so well; but a little vanity may be allowed to mingle with and soften such edge-tools of self-denial, as he chose to handle. His treatment of his daughter was ignorant, and in wiser times would have been brutal; especially when it is considered how much the conduct of children is modified by education and other circumstances : but then a
is John the First, who was elected king of Portugal, and became famous for his great qualitics; and that his son by the alleged shoemaker's daughter was his successor, Alphonso the Fifth.
brutal man would not have accompanied it with such voluntary suffering of his own. Neither did Barbadon leave his daughter to take her chance in the wide world, thinking of the evils she might be enduring, only to give a greater zest of fancied pity to the contentedness of his cruelty. He knew she was well taken care of ; and if she was not to have the enjoyment of his society, he was determined that it should be a very uncomfortable one to himself. He knew that she lay on a princely bed, while he would have none at all. He knew that she was served upon gold and silver, while he renounced his old chestnut table,_the table at which she used to sit. He knew while he sat looking at his old beard, and the wilful sordidness of his hands, that her locks and her fair limbs were objects of worship to the gallant and the great. And so he set off his destitutions against her over-possession ; and took out the punishment he gave her, in revenge upon himself. This was the instinct of a man who loved a principle, but hated nobody:-of a man who, in a wiser time, would have felt the wisdom of kindness. Thus his blessing upon his grandchild becomes consistent with his cruelty to his child : and his living stock was a fine one in spite of him. His daughter showed a sense of the wound she had given such a father, by relinquishing the sympathies she loved, because they had hurt him : and her son, worthy of such a grandfather and such a daughter, and refined into a gracefulness of knowledge by education, thought it no mean thing or vulgar to kneel to the grey-headed artisan in the street, and beg the blessing of his honest hand.
XVII.-MORE NEWS OF ULYSSES.
TALKING the other day with a friend" about Dante, he observed, that whenever so great a poet told us anything in addition or continuation of an ancient story, he had a right to be regarded as classical authority. For instance, said he, when he tells us of that characteristic death of Ulysses in one of the books of his Inferno, we ought to receive the information as authentic, and be glad that we have more news of Ulysses than we looked for.
We thought this a happy remark, and instantly turned with him to the passage in question. The last account of Ulysses in the ancient poets, is his sudden re-appearance before the suitors at Ithaca. There is something more told of him, it is true, before the Odyssey concludes; but with the exception of his visit to his aged father, our memory scarcely wishes to retain it; nor does it controvert the general impression left upon us, that the wandering hero is victorious over his
• The late Mr. Keats.